Never Bend

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Never Bend
CountryUnited States
ColorDark Bay
BreederHarry F. Guggenheim
OwnerCain Hoy Stable
TrainerWoody Stephens
Record23: 13-4-4
Major wins
Champagne Stakes (1962)
Futurity Stakes (1962)
Cowdin Stakes (1962)
Flamingo Stakes (1963)
Forerunner Stakes (1963)
Stepping Stone Purse (1963)
Yankee Handicap (1963)
American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1962)
Leading sire in GB & Ireland (1971)
Never Bend Handicap at Pimlico Race Course

Never Bend (1960–1977) was a champion American Thoroughbred racehorse who was the 1962 American Champion Two-Year-Old and later became a leading sire in England.

Racing Career[edit]

1962: Two-year-old season[edit]

Foaled at Claiborne Farm for owner/breeder Harry F. Guggenheim, Never Bend was the dominant two-year-old racing in the United States in 1962. His performances that year earned him the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Male Horse, and he was considered an early favorite for the ensuing 1963 U.S. Triple Crown races.

1963: Three-year-old season[edit]

Kentucky Derby[edit]

The 1963 edition of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown series, saw 120,000 patrons gather at Churchill Downs for a race that featured three Thoroughbred stars. TIME magazine reported jockey Eddie Arcaro as saying: "I can't remember a Derby creating so much excitement."[1]

Although Never Bend had won the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park and the Stepping Stone Purse at Churchill Downs, leading up to May's Kentucky Derby he had been outshone by the undefeated Candy Spots, that had won the Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby. At the same time, a Greentree Stable colt named No Robbery had won the Wood Memorial Stakes and also came into the Derby undefeated. By post time, bettors made Candy Spots the 3-2 favorite, No Robbery the second choice at 5-2, then Never Bend the third choice at odds of 3-1. When the gate opened, Never Bend quickly took the lead and held it until the eighth pole, when Chateaugay came from sixth place to win by 1¼ lengths.

Preakness Stakes[edit]

In the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Never Bend again faced Candy Spots and Chateaugay. Bettors still made Candy Spots the favorite. As he had in the Derby, Never Bend charged out to an early lead with Candy Spots in third. As they turned into the homestretch, Chateaugay came from well back to catch and pass Never Bend, that had fallen behind the then front-running Candy Spots. He finished third behind Chateaugay and the race winner, Candy Spots.

Later three-year-old season[edit]

Never Bend did not run in the third leg of the U.S. Triple Crown series. Before being retired, in the fall of that year, he finished second to Mongo in the United Nations Handicap and second to the Kelso in the Woodward Stakes. In October, Never Bend easily defeated Chateaugay in winning the Yankee Handicap by four lengths at Suffolk Downs.

Retirement and Breeding Career[edit]

Never Bend retired to stand at stud for the 1964 season and became a very important sire, producing 61 stakes winners. His most famous son was Mill Reef, ranked fourth on the list of the European top 100 horses of the 20th century and a leading sire whose race wins include The Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Never Bend's other progeny included Riverman, a two-time leading sire in France; Triple Bend, which set a world-record time for seven furlongs on dirt; and J. O. Tobin, Champion two-year-old in England and Eclipse Award sprinter in the U.S. at age four, that handed Seattle Slew his first defeat. Never Bend was also the broodmare sire of 115 stakes winners, with two of his mares voted Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.[3]

Foaled Name Sex Major Wins/Achievements
1968 Mill Reef Stallion Epsom Derby, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
1968 Triple Bend Stallion Santa Anita Handicap
1969 Riverman Stallion Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Leading sire in France (1980, 1981)

Never Bend died in 1977 at the age of 17.


Pedigree of Never Bend, brown stallion, 1960
Nearco Pharos Phalaris
Scapa Flow
Nogara Havresac
Mumtaz Begum Blenheim Blandford
Mumtaz Mahal The Tetrarch
Lady Josephine
Djeddah Djebel Tourbillon
Djezima Asterus
Be Faithful Bimelech Black Toney
La Troienne
Bloodroot Blue Larkspur
Knockaney Bridge (family: 19-b)


  1. ^ Time (magazine)
  2. ^ Washington Observer - October 17, 1963
  3. ^ "Kentucky Broodmare of the Year".